Brought to you by Seahorse magazine, Scuttlebutt Europe is a digest of sailing news and opinions, regatta results, new boat and gear information and letters from sailors -- with a European emphasis. Contributions welcome, send to

Start In Bahrain For Leg 1 of EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour
EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour, the region's only long distance offshore sailing endurance race between Bahrain and Muscat, enjoyed perfect sailing conditions for the opening leg between Manama, Bahrain and Doha, Qatar.

Beautiful, clear and sunny skies with ideal winds ranging from 16-18kts from the north-west greeted the crews for the 100 mile first leg from Bahrain with a tense sprint finish expected amongst the leading teams on arrival into The Pearl, Qatar later today.

The teams faced a delayed start with the first leg of the race from Bahrain to Qatar eventually getting underway at 0725 Bahrain time today. The start line was set just over a mile offshore, and the first mark of the course, a further mile and a half upwind.

The wind conditions mean the race will return immediately to its original schedule, making up time and allowing for the first in-port racing off the coast of Doha's West Bay to take place on 11th February as planned as part of Qatar's National Sport Day celebrations. When the fleet arrives later today in Doha, Qatar it will be based in the stunning marina at The Pearl. Here crews will relax overnight before they set sail again for short in-port races.

This year a total of six teams are taking part including three from Oman - Team Renaissance, Royal Navy of Oman and Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat - EFG Bank (Monaco), Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, and Team Delft Challenge - TU Delft. There are seven different nations represented among the crew including France, Germany, Ireland, America, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium as well as the local Omani teams.

The 760-nautical mile course spans over four countries from Bahrain to Oman, with eight of the region's premier marinas playing host as stopover venues during the seven legs of the course. -- Daphne Morgan Barnicoat

omansail.com
efgsailing.com

A Class Worlds: Nathan Outteridge Wins Worlds Practice Race
America's Cup skipper and Olympic Gold Medalist, Nathan Outteridge put another slant on the form guide for the 2014 A-Class Catamaran Worlds with a convincing win in the practice race sailed off Takapuna Beach, today.

Heather Forbes reports:

One afternoon Practice Race was held today, in preparation for the 2014 Worlds in gloriously sunny picturesque Takapuna, Auckland.

Wind conditions were light side, averaging 8- 10 knots,

In the words of Storm (Ian Johnson, AUS) deputy President of the International A Class Association: 'The weather Gods were kind to us as there was almost no wind 10 minutes before the race!'

Nathan Outteridge (AUS) foiled the most effectively out of the 'foiled up' members of Team NZ, resulting in him coming first by about a minute. Blair Tuke (NZ) was second place and Glenn Ashby (AUS) came 3nd, followed by Andrew Landenberger (AUS).

Foils are the 'secret weapon' of Team NZ. The guys are getting air down wind but the real question is; 'How are they going to perform in lighter winds?'

We might just find out tomorrow as the forecast is for even lighter winds!

Sail-World.com: www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=119152

Event: www.sailingeventstakapuna.com

Get Your Safety Equipment Ready For The Spring Rush
Ocean Safety Spring is only a few weeks away and when the first sunny day beckons you to go sailing don't step on board to find out that your safety equipment is out of date. It's still winter and the best time to get your liferafts, lifejackets and Jonbuoy equipment serviced.

"We advise customers to get their equipment in to us while their boat is laid up for the season," comments Ocean Safety's General Manager, Alistair Hackett. "It's important to check that liferafts, lifejackets, fire fighting and man overboard equipment is all in date and in working order ready for the following season."

Equipment can be dropped off at any of the three Ocean Safety approved service stations in Southampton Glasgow and Plymouth, or to any of Ocean Safety's network of service agents across the UK. . During the liferaft service Ocean Safety also encourages people where possible to come in and familiarise themselves with their liferaft, however an appointment will be required. All of the branches also offer servicing for Survival Suits, EPIRBs, SARTs, Fire Safety Equipment and Man Overboard Systems.

For branch location details visit www.oceansafety.com

Can Seve Jarvin Equal Iain Murray's Record?
Click on image for photo gallery.

JJ Giltinan Seve Jarvin yesterday won his fifth Australian 18ft Skiff Championship, now he sets his sights on leading his Gotta Love It 7 team of Sam Newton and Scott Babbage into the 2014 JJ Giltinan 18 Footer Championship, supported by Sydney City Marine, on 1 March, when he will be attempting to equal the record of his team manager Iain Murray as a six times winning skipper.

Seve already has six wins in the championship, including one as sheet hand on Euan McNicol's Club Marine in 2005. His Gotta Love It 7 wins came in 2008, then 2010-2013, inclusive. Iain's wins were consecutive from 1977-1982.

The Gotta Love It 7 team will have an interrupted lead up to the championship. All three leave for Singapore next week to sail Pindar in the Extreme Sailing series and Scott also has commitments on his return which will see him missing until just before the Giltinan.

Gotta Love It 7 has been almost unbeatable with the smaller #2 rig throughout the season, but hasn't shown the same dominance with her new #1 rig.

Gotta Love It 7's main opposition is likely to again come from their usual challengers, Michael Coxon (Thurlow Fisher Lawyers), Jack Macartney (Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel) and Nick Press (Smeg), but two new local teams and the top kiwi will be just as tough.

Host club, the Australian 18 Footers League announced the fleet for this year's event, which has 34 of the world's best 18ft Skiff teams representing six nations. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Full team list and event information: www.18footers.com.au

RC44 Season Gets Underway With The Virgin Gorda Cup
The RC44 fleet will be welcomed by the turquoise waters of Virgin Gorda, for the first event of the 2014 season from 12-16 February; nine teams out of the 14 strong fleet will compete at the opening Championship Tour event.

The Virgin Gorda Cup will kick off with a day of match racing, where either the professional tactician or owner can take the helm. The remaining four days will be fleet racing, with the addition of a long distance race on the Friday, that will see the teams complete a windward leeward in the Sound before racing 25 nautical miles around the island.

Dominating the leaderboard for the third consecutive year, Team Aqua will once again start the season as the defending Tour Champions; after an outstanding year in 2013, Chris Bake's team took home both the match and fleet racing title.

Stepping back into the fleet will be class founder Russell Coutts onboard Vladimir Prosikhin's Team Nika for the Virgin Gorda Cup.

The Virgin Gorda Cup has been supported by Moorings Yacht Charter, racing will be run out of the beautiful Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, with their race team supporting the classes very own Principal Race Officer, Peter 'Luigi' Reggio.

Racing runs from Wednesday 12th February for five days through to Sunday 16th.

www.rc44.com

ORC Central Europeans In Cres Offers New Shorter Format
The 4th edition of the ORC Central European Championship held in Cres, Croatia over June 24-29, 2014 will offer a new format in accordance with new standards introduced this year in the ORC's 2014 edition of the Championship and Event Rules (aka, the Green Book). This new format for regional ORC championships shortens the previous schedule of 8 days of registration, measurement and racing to 6 days, yet still includes a mix of inshore and offshore races.

"There has been widespread interest to shorten the format for championship events at this level to attract more entries interested in having a better balance of time, cost and competitiveness," said Zoran Grubisa, regatta Chairman. "So, we decided to try this here in Cres so that we can give teams who are committed to come for the full week an opportunity to relax and enjoy more of what Cres has to offer. This new schedule also opens up the event to teams who could not otherwise commit to a full week of regatta activities.

Seven races are scheduled including one offshore race and six inshore races. Inshore races will be of 1.5 - 2 hours duration and shall have a scoring coefficient of 1.0. The Offshore race will be of 10 - 12 hours duration with a scoring coefficient of 1.2. The championship will be valid if at least 3 inshore races and the offshore race are completed. One discard will be allowed if 5 races are completed, but the offshore race shall not be discarded.

Fourteen teams from eight countries are already signed up for this year's event, including several that are regular competitors in Cres. These include the 2012 ORC Mediterranean Class A champion, Felix Riedl's TP 52 Aquila from Austria, and the 2012 Class B champion, Inna Vaclavova's M 37 Escandalo from the Czech Republic.

www.scor.hr/regate/2014e/orccec.htm

North Sea Dinghy Dash
A dinghy sailor is planning a daring dash across 145 miles of North Sea on 27 June to raise cash for the lifeboat.

Martin Evans planas to sail his Laser from West Mersea, Essex to Scheveningen, Holland. The passage could take anything from 14 hours to well over 24 hours. 'I will be going non-stop and have to be awake and concentrating 100% of the time so it's quite a challenge,' he said.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the RNLI should go to: www.justgiving.com/Martin-Evans11

From Yachting Monthly: www.yachtingmonthly.com

IMX 45 For Race Charter
IMX45 for Charter YRC Partners has been offering yacht charter services, both racing and cruising since 2004.

Their main offering is an IMX 45 which is based on the East Coast of the US, this boat is delivered ORC Cat 1 compliant and is ready to tackle any and all of the major distance races from the Block Island Race to the 2015 Transat.

The IMX 45 is a solid and proven winning design.  This is a boat truly capable of winning, as proven in the 2006 Bermuda Race when an IMX 45 "Temptress" won the highly competitive Gibbs High Lighthouse Trophy awarded to the boat with the best corrected time in the Bermuda Race and Cybele won her class in the St David Lighthouse Division.

The team at YRC Partners has worked diligently over the years to optimize all aspects of the boat's racing program.  In 2008 YRC Partners engaged Evolution Sails in a sail development program. This partnership with Evolution has led to many optimizations and a current inventory of sails which maximizes the boats performance and minimizes the impact of both IRC and ORR ratings.  In addition to the outstanding sail inventory YRC Partners has spared no expense in outfitting the boat, the boat is a navigators dream, and includes: B&G 3000, on board pc with 18" LCD monitor with Expedition software, a satellite telephone with 120 minutes for both voice and data, Radar, a cellular amplifier, AIS and a host of other features all designed to make this a winning platform.

Email or call +1 917 345 8228

Upturn In First Timers
There has been a distinct upturn in the number of first timers entering the annual J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race since entries opened on January 3rd compared with a few years ago. Early Bird entries have now closed and currently entries stand at over 600.

The Standard entry fee now applies until midnight on Saturday 7th June.

You can enter securely online here: rtir.me/entries

The first IRC entry was Geoff Gritton's Quarter Tonner Panic (GBR7299), a first timer this year. Geoff, from Brightlingsea in Essex, has sailed across the Atlantic twice and sailed dinghies and SB20s.

"MyQuarter Tonner is fully optimised for IRC and is a Peter Gimpel one-off design. I sailed on the boat in 1986 and then bought her in 2011. Since then we have put a new mast and rig and completely replaced the deck gear. I feel very lucky to own this fantastic boat.

"We are a bunch of Essex men just really enjoying our sailing and the banter both on and off the boat. Just because we laugh a lot, that doesn't mean we aren't serious about our racing. We win most races we enter on the East Coast but we love coming to the sailing mecca that is Cowes to learn how to become even better," writes Geoff on his entry form.

Another first time entry from M Fabrice Sobczak from Mons in Belgium is actually named VIP (FRA37835), a Beneteau First 35. Fabrice is joined for the Race by friends coming from the Belgium Rugby Club of Mons

For all the news and full details about the Race and entry information, please visit www.roundtheisland.org.uk

Ireland To Mount Team Challenge In Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) has confirmed that Ireland will return to Cowes this summer with a competitive team for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

Anthony O'Leary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, who led the 2010 team to the first major Irish victory on The Solent, is set to be confirmed as captain of the three-boat squad.

His Ker-designed 39ft Antix will be part of the team. And many of the 2010 crew that were almost exclusively Munster-based will be sailing again on Antix or on the other boats.

A Dublin flavour will be added this year with the Grand Soleil 43ft Quokka, under charter to Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

The third boat is Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by American Mark Glimcher and is a previous US IRC National champion that is expected to be shipped to Europe at the end of this month along with it's support containers ahead of an intensive crew-training phase. -- David Branigan in The Irish Times

www.irishtimes.com

Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series
The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series gets underway from 16th March 2014. Competitors can benefit from "Early bird" reduced entry fees for those received by 21st February 2014. The full Notice of Race and entry details are published on www.warsashspringseries.org.uk

The six-Sunday Spring Series uses a sailing area in the mid-Solent and attracts boats in four IRC divisions as well as five one design classes. The Series takes a break for Easter, returning for a final day's racing on 27th April.

The Spring Championship takes place on the 12th/13th and 26th/27th April, bringing the event to an exciting finale with two concentrated weekends of racing - up to 12 races every one of which counts.

Boats already returning to defend their titles include Puma Logic, Sailing Logic's Reflex 38, IRC class winner in 2013 and Betty (Jon Powell) which took the J/80 one design class.

Enquiries regarding the event can be made to

So We Can Sail On Mars???
NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars have returned clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet.

The features are dark, finger-like markings that advance down some Martian slopes when temperatures rise. The new clues include corresponding seasonal changes in iron minerals on the same slopes and a survey of ground temperatures and other traits at active sites. These support a suggestion that brines with an iron-mineral antifreeze, such as ferric sulfate, may flow seasonally, though there are still other possible explanations.

Researchers call these dark flows "recurring slope lineae." As a result, RSL has become one of the hottest acronyms at meetings of Mars scientists.

"We still don't have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we're not sure how this process would take place without water," said Lujendra Ojha, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, and lead author of two new reports about these flows.

www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-042

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2008 Imoca Open 60 DCNS. 500000 EUR.

Built by MULTIPLAST, she already has a great track record. She has fantastic potential for the up and coming Transat Jacques Vabre, Route du Rhum and Vendee Globe races. She is in racing condition after a complete refit and overhaul in 2012. She did not sail last 2012/2013 Vendee Globe Race as she was used instead for the movie "En Solitaire" which will be released in Autumn 2013.

Brokerage by Bernard Gallay Yacht Brokerage: www.bernard-gallay.com

Complete listing details and seller contact information

Seahorse's RaceboatsOnly collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break. -- Robert Anton Wilson

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see www.scuttlebutteurope.com/advertise.html

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